America's Drug Wars
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A Sickness In Our Culture

Drugs have definitely had an impact on my life. Looking back, if I could change things, I would have made a greater effort to steer clear of the drug trade. I never consciously decided that I was going to be involved with people who peddled drugs or that I was going to use cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol heavily and other drugs such as heroin, mushrooms, LSD, speed to a lesser degree. I never consciously chose to have a best friend overdose twice from heroin and who is now dying of cirrhosis of the liver.

Although I did come of age during the 60s when drugs were seen as an expression of anti-establishment, anti-war, free-love culture, my view of drugs as anti-establishment has definitely changed since drugs have become deeply embedded in our capitalistic system and, as your cover story says, are the most profitable business around.

I don't think our culture has a handle on this situation. We are a consumer culture and everything is a commodity, including drugs that fill in the lonely spaces or speed up the slow times by making oneself seem more grandiose than we really are.

I think the drug trade is a symptom of the sickness in our culture which we apparently can't face. I live near a drug-rehab clinic now in a very upscale community and I wonder about those upper-class young people who have everything going for them but also have money which makes them, in some ways, more vulnerable to becoming a drug dealer in order to impress their friends, meet women, etc.

I'm glad you are addressing this subject because most people are more than willing to look the other way. What this trade says about us as a people and our culture is something very big and most people can't conceive of changing their lives that much because they are reasonably happy. It may be analogous to the energy crisis because we consume, consume, consume without thinking about the repercussions for our society.

Thank you for doing this story and for letting me tell my story.

Minneapolis. MN

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